Change my heart

Recently, I have spoken about my work at a cancer support center to several Optimist Clubs, and every time I hear the Optimist Creed, this line stands out:

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

One of my Lenten plans was to see the people in front of me. Sometimes I don’t actually see the person standing in front of me, but rather I see a version of that person which is based on my past experiences with him or her, and I know that is not always accurate.

Instead, I want to try to see as God sees—to see the potential in each person, to see the best in each one. I want to be less critical and more hopeful about the people in my life.spirituality-prayer-lentUsually, though, I form an impression of someone when we meet. If someone is prickly, I tend to think, “This is a prickly person.” I can then find it difficult to change that initial impression, to let go of my expectations that someone will act in a particular way. I can easily devote attention and energy to the faults of others while conveniently overlooking my own. spirituality-prayer-lentI know, though, that when I get a glimpse of myself as God sees me, it is a better version of me. From God’s perspective, I am capable of being my best self—loving, forgiving, accepting and merciful. When others see the best in me, and let me know that, I am more likely to be that person (or at least be more aware when I am not). The ability of others to see the best in me helps me to grow into the person God created me to be.

God invites me to focus on improving myself, on fixing my own faults before I start looking at others.spirituality-prayer-lentWhen I am aware of my own flaws, I am less likely to be critical of others. When I remember that I grow and change, it is easier to believe that others also grow and change—and also easier to see their potential.

Practicing seeing as God sees also makes me more compassionate. Seeing the potential in others and allowing them the space to grow into their potential reminds me we are all on the path to discovering who God created us to be. Hoping that I and others can live up to the vision God has for us shifts my vision from pessimism to optimism; God’s vision is always hopeful and expansive.spirituality-prayer-lentEvery person who stands before me has the potential to become all that God intended. My desire is to accept the people who come into my life without criticism or judgment and to imagine them as their best selves, the selves God created them to be.



8 thoughts on “Change my heart

  1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Thanks Anne Marie, This question in the reflection is one I face daily at work: How do you respond when you encounter people who seem to be blind to some truth of their life?
    Facing cancer, especially life-threatening cancers, can be so difficult that many people just refuse to see the truth. Some people who have faced their situations and feel they are living more authentically want to help those in denial. But my experience is that most people who don’t want to know prefer their blindness. What saddens me the most is when family members come to me after a loved one has died and confess their regret for not having faced the truth and wasted precious time in hospitals and infusion centers when they could have been helping their loved one enjoy the last days of their lives. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sister Anne Marie Lom

      I have encouraged people dealing with cancer in a loved one to make decisions each day that they think are best (denial, care, time spent, place of care… whatever) and then promise yourself “no regrets”. Regret is a deterrrent to grieving after the loved one is gone. Each can do only what is possible for them at present and then move forward. I have also found that one or two members of a family may be in denial and their position of denial needs to be honored as well as those who are not in denial.
      None of this is easy and I so admire you for your work at Lake House to assist those dying and those left behind.
      I walked with my mom in her dying of cancer and so did the rest of my family. We all had different approaches but each needed to be honored because, after the death, those family members need to have relationships intact.

  2. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Thank you, Anne Marie, for this lovely reflection. What you said about regret is so true. I see it in our bereavement group, and it is so difficult for people to move ahead when they are filled with regret. Thank you for taking the time to share.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s